Troy Christian opens D-IV sectional play with win over Tri-County North


TROY — For the Troy Christian boys basketball team, the top seed in the Troy D-IV sectional, it was a new experience playing at the Trojan Activity Center.

And after a close first half against 12 seed Tri-County North, the Eagles dominated the second half for a 63-33 win Thursday night.

Troy Christian, 20-3, will play 11 seed Miami Valley at 6 p.m. Tuesday in second-round action.

“We had played in the Piqua sectional the last couple years,” Troy Christian coach Ray Zawadzki said. “When we walked in here tonight, there were a couple guys who said they had never been in this gym.”

And the Eagles found themselves in a battle for a half.

“I am just glad it didn’t have a Buster Douglas ending,” Zawadzki said with a smile.

Tri-County North was within 9-6 in the early going, before Troy Christian went on a 10-0 run late in the first quarter and early in the second quarter to to open a 19-6 lead.

Parker Penrod had the last eight points in that run, including two 3-pointers.

But, North would hang in there and trailed just 29-21 at halftime.

“They came out and punched us in the mouth early,” Zawadzki said. “And they just kept battling.”

The second half was a different story.

Troy Christian would outscore North 34-12 in the final two quarters, limiting the Panthers to four field goals on 22 attempts in the second half

“That is the kind of defense we can play.” Zawadzki said. “It is a staple of ours. I was happy with the way our kids responded in the second half. I thought we did a much better job of finding them in the second half, which we didn’t do a very good job of in the first half.”

As always, balanced scoring was another staple for the Eagles, who put four players in double figures.

Penrod had 19 points and six rebounds. Ethan Grise and Frank Rupnik both had 11 points and five rebounds and Christian Brusman also scored 11 points.

Kyle Sebor had six points and Alex Free pulled down six rebounds.

Tri-County North, who finished 1-22, was led by Jon Shirley with 11 points and six rebounds.

Doninic Lynch had 10 points and six rebounds and Logan Flory added eight points and seven rebounds.

Troy Christian was 24 of 49 from the floor for 49 percent and seven of 10 from the line for 70 percent.

Tri-County North was 13 of 42 from the floor for 31 percent and four of nine from the line for 44 percent.

The Eagles won the battle of the boards 30-27 and had eight turnovers to the Panthers 16.

“It is always good to get a win,” Zawadzki said. “And get ready for next Tuesday’s game.”

And a return trip to the Trojan Activity Center.

Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at [email protected]

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